GREEN BAY – Erik Walden isn’t sure what his role will be Thursday night against the Chicago Bears, but the Green Bay Packers outside linebacker does expect to have some role on defense after missing Sunday’s 30-22 season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers while serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Walden, who was suspended in connection with a domestic incident he had with his live-in girlfriend over the Thanksgiving weekend last year, was reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday. To make room for Walden on the 53-man roster, the Packers released cornerback Brandian Ross, who would be a candidate for the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Walden, who had a sack and a couple of quarterback pressures in the preseason finale against Kansas City before his suspension began, said he spent the week with family in Georgia, celebrating his son’s birthday and working out. He is immediately eligible to play against the Bears, against whom he had three sacks in a 2010 game.
“It was tough. You’re at home, you’re not able to contribute, you’re not even able to come to work and work with the scout team,” said Walden, who returned to Green Bay on Saturday and was able to come to the facility on Monday morning. “That was the circumstance. Now you just move on. It’s all behind me. We’re moving forward. I’m happy.
“Now it’s time to get back to playing football and do what I love to do.”
Asked if he expects to see action on defense despite a week away and rookie first-round draft pick Nick Perry being the starter, Walden replied, “Yeah, absolutely. In some way, shape or form, but whatever happens happens, and I’ll be prepared either way.
“I just want to make sure I’m going out there to contribute, and when I’m out there, the other 10 guys know they can always count on me. I want to make sure I’m prepared to play.”
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There are no games scheduled for today.